Sunday, 1 February 2015

Education for lifelong labour in U.S.A.

From Anita Hoge`s interview on Caravan to Midnight. 

Her journey began when her son came home one day and recounted that he had been given a weird test at school but he did not know how to answer the questions. The principal had taken the class down to a little assembly room and asked them questions like: "If you saw an old lady at the edge of the street, would you throw rocks at her or push her into the street?"

Alarmed, Anita Hoge saw the school superintendent because she wanted to see the test for herself but the meeting did not go well. She was shocked when the superintendent picked up a book and threw it across the room. "You and I are not going to be friends any more," she said. It was about a year before she saw any documentation and that was after being given the run around by various departments. The first document she saw was called Quality Goals in Pennsylvania and she learned that the goals being driven through the education system in Pennsylvania were all about the affective domain: attitudes, values, dispositions and beliefs.

After filing a complaint, she made a Freedom of Information request based on her own complaint, and that is when she was given a bundle of documents which supported the authority`s position; it included a copy of the test. The test consisted of 30 questions on reading, 30 questions on maths and an enormous 320 questions on attitudes, values, dispositions and beliefs. So now she had the evidence that this was actually being done in the classroom. These dispositions were all being scored; so there was an expected right answer and to graduate from High School a child had to have a minimum score on each one.

Anita Hoge goes on to describe the tests. They were presented as little hypothetical stories and measured self esteem, whether a child was internally or externally influenced. Would they go along with a group of children who were engaged in vandalism if the group happened to be their friends? They scored one if they would, and zero if they would not. Would they join this same group if they thought their parents would ground them for it? They scored one if they would, and zero if they would not. To obey their parents was not the right answer. What the testers were looking for was a willingness to join the group..

The information being collected included families. "Do you have books at home? What does your father do? Did your parents go to college? They were building up psychographics on individuals which could be matched to socioeconomic information," says Anita Hoge.

It has been a long 20 year journey for Anita Hoge and there have been many developments throughout this time. The Department of Education has the contract to collect the data on children and families in every State which links with the central Government longitudinal data system. The Government will have a psychometric dossier on every citizen which will include biometric information, iris scans, fingerprints, DNA profiles, all on one file. This data is going to be the new census. The data is identifiable and third parties such as corporations and voluntary agencies will be allowed access to it who are doing research - and they will not need consent.

Anita Hoge has obtained all the contracts which prove this.

She discovered that Pennsylvania had been used to benchmark the tests because the plan was that all States would be incorporated into the same educational plan.

"It was very deceptive," says Anita Hoge.  "People would say: don`t you want your kids to have good citizenship, honesty and integrity; don`t you want them to co-operate with others? And most parents would say yes. But what they were testing was compliance based on Skinner`s rewards and punishments - operant conditioning. They wanted children to move away from individualism towards collectivism."

"They were training children rather than providing them with an education. That is why each child had to be attached to a computer which is the perfect Skinnerian tool. For instance, train a dog to sit and it can perform. Then tell it to roll over and it will just look at you, because it has not been trained to do it. That is what is happening to our children. So they cannot think for themselves."

"There is no escaping these psychological assessments because they are embedded into subject areas. For instance, for a reading assessment a child might be given a story about a dove and an ant. The dove is a free flying spirit and the ant is an industrious worker who toils day and night. The first question might be: who are the two main characters in the story? So this is a straightforward comprehension question. The next set of questions might be: who would you rather be, the ant or the dove? Is there anybody in your family who is like the dove? Who is that? These questions are meant to test deeper learning, higher order thinking skills, or critical thinking. What that really means is that they are testing attitudes, probing values and dispositions. Any child who fails a standard will not be allowed to progress to the next stage and will be remediated. It does not matter how long it takes. As well as learning everything about the child, the Government will know about the family too."

In April 1992 the Department of Labour set out Learning a Living: a blueprint for high performance; that is, they laid out a plan that said every child had to meet particular outcomes which would meet the requirements for business. They also created a hypothetical resume which showed the personal qualities they were looking for - any child who failed to meet a proficiency level would not graduate and would be remediated. In this way education goals had merged with those of the Department of Labour. 

TITLE 1 grants used to be provided to the state to help poor children in their reading. The law changed so that a TITLE 1 grant follows any child who fails to meet a Common Core standard. Once in the system there is no escaping it. This is tied in with Obamacare because failing to meet a standard is now seen as a mental disorder which means interventions can by-pass parental authority.

"This is a decision making model which will determine what a child will be expected to do and it is central Government who  controls it."

A bill is being rushed through the Senate at the moment - all the details are on Charlotte Iserbyt`s blog (link below)  - which puts the final pieces of legislation into place. There is also a link to Anita Hoge`s interview on the radio show Caravan to Midnight.  


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